Clinical and Experiential Programs
The School of Law has long been recognized for its innovative approach to clinical teaching that transforms the classroom into a real-world laboratory through the integration of theory and practice. It has been a national leader in clinical teaching since the early 1970s, and continues to offer rigorous practical training across a wide range of practice areas. Students gain crucial firsthand experience that prepares them for future careers, learning from faculty members whose knowledge and expertise place them at the forefront of clinical education.
From the first year, students have opportunities to receive training and hands-on experience by participating in the El Centro Legal Clinics. El Centro places students with public-interest legal services organizations to provide legal assistance to underserved individuals, families, and communities. Second- and third-year students can participate in a broad array of clinical and experiential courses that encompass all areas of legal practice — litigation, transactional, and public interest. In addition, second- and third-year students can do part-time and full-time externships, working for judges, government agencies, public interest law firms, and nonprofit organizations.
The clinical and experiential program is led by exceptional faculty members — visionary scholars who have contributed the cornerstone ideas that form the basis of clinical training, as well as a new generation of leaders who are bringing clinical education into areas of the legal profession that have long remained outside the scope of hands-on training.
Criminal Justice Program
The Criminal Justice Program addresses a wide spectrum of issues in criminal law with a vigorous program of education, policy work, and research. Areas of focus include police and digital surveillance, the relationship between criminal law and immigration enforcement, trial and appellate advocacy, criminal defense, expert witnesses and wrongful convictions, sentencing, the death penalty, fines, prison law, collateral consequences of criminal convictions and prisoner reentry, juvenile justice, international and transnational crimes, criminal justice reform in the U.S. and abroad, and critical race studies.
Critical Race Studies Program
Throughout American history, race has profoundly affected the lives of individuals, growth of social institutions, substance of culture, and workings of our political economy. Not surprisingly, this impact has been substantially mediated through the law and legal institutions. To understand the deep interconnections between race and law and, particularly the ways in which race and law are mutually constitutive, is an extraordinary intellectual challenge with substantial practical implications. In a nation that is becoming more racially diverse and finds global issues at the forefront of political debate, these issues promise to remain central to the work of law practitioners and the research of legal scholars. The only one of its kind in the U.S., the Critical Race Studies Program is proud that some of the original architects of critical race theory are faculty members. It is the premier institutional setting for the study of the intersection between race and the law. Established in 2000, the program is a training ground for a new generation of practitioners, scholars, and advocates committed to racial justice theory and practice; and is a multifaceted program that augments a rigorous course of study with research colloquia, symposia, interdisciplinary collaborations, and community partnerships in order to integrate theory and practice.
David J. Epstein Program in Public Interest Law and Policy
The school’s highly selective David J. Epstein Program in Public Interest Law and Policy was established in 1997 in response to the need to better train public-interest lawyers. It quickly became one of the nation’s most innovative and successful law school public-interest programs, engaging students in an array of social justice issues. Recognizing the considerable debate about the proper role of the law in creating and sustaining a just society — and defining public interest broadly to include all interests underrepresented by the private market — the program strives to ensure that its students pursue an innovative and intellectually ambitious curriculum, and extracurricular involvement that best prepares them to engage in sophisticated representation of traditionally underserved clients and interests. Beyond the formal coursework, the program offers an array of opportunities for students to hear from leading public-interest practitioners and scholars, work on current policy problems, and become involved in public-interest activities within and outside the School of Law. The program also sponsors a series of forums, symposia, and activities that focus on social justice issues in which all students, faculty, alumni, and the broader community participate.
Externships and Field Placements
Through the School of Law’s extensive and diversified externship program, students can work in a supervised environment with a wide variety of employers and in a diverse range of practice areas. Students are able to extern with judges, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, or in some circumstances, entertainment and other in-house placements. They also may participate in the UCDC Law Program, a full-time externship program in Washington, DC. The field placement program brings together faculty members, students, and practicing lawyers to collaborate and connect classroom learning with practice opportunities.
Globalization and Labor Standards Program
For students interested in labor and employment issues, UCLA has a Globalization and Labor Standards (GALS) Program that maintains a web-based library of law review articles on all issues of international labor rights and global labor standards. GALS also publishes a newsletter, organizes conferences, and hosts regular speaker programs. Student contributors are involved in every stage of the project.
International and Comparative Law Program
The International and Comparative Law Program is one of the best in the nation. Permanent faculty members, who have built their reputations in the field, offer numerous international and comparative law courses such as human rights, international business transactions, national security law, international environmental law, international criminal law, European Union law, and Islamic law. The study of international and comparative law is further strengthened by the opportunity to take courses in other UCLA departments. Some of the country’s best work in international economics, politics, and business occurs at UCLA, and many law students find it valuable to complement their law school work with coursework in other departments. Students may also pursue joint degrees with other departments with the approval of the law school administration.
Law and Philosophy Program
The School of Law and the Philosophy Department offer an exciting program in law and philosophy that takes advantage of the law faculty’s strength and depth in the subject, and the school’s close relationship to the Philosophy Department. The program has many dimensions, including a wide range of courses at the intersection of law and philosophy and a legal theory workshop, open to all members of the law school and Philosophy Department, in which leading scholars present works in progress.
Negotiation and Conflict Resolution Program
The Negotiation and Conflict Resolution Program promotes an interdisciplinary approach to understanding and managing the competition for scarce resources in legal, business, and interpersonal contexts. The program’s broad mission includes the study of private and public transactions and disputes in domestic and international arenas. It brings together a community of scholars and students from a variety of fields across UCLA and throughout Southern California with overlapping scholarly, teaching, and practice interests.
Program on Understanding Law, Science, and Evidence
Founded in 2009, the Program on Understanding Law, Science, and Evidence (PULSE) explores the many connections between law and science, technology, and evidence. PULSE engages in interdisciplinary research, discussion, and programming to examine how basic facts about our world, furnished through science and credited as evidence, influence various venues of law and policymaking.
Resnick Program for Food Law and Policy
The Resnick Program for Food Law and Policy is dedicated to studying and advancing law and policy solutions to improve the modern food system. A national think tank at the school, the program develops key legal and policy research and tools to foster a food system, from farm to the fork, that is healthy both for consumers and the environment.
Transnational Program on Criminal Justice
The Transnational Program on Criminal Justice (TPCJ) fosters research and discussion on issues of domestic, comparative, international, and transnational criminal justice systems; and sponsors events to engage students and the criminal justice, comparative, international law scholarly community. The TPCJ serves as a resource for producing timely collaborative research on diverse topics at the intersection of criminal justice, comparative and international law, and human rights law. The goal is to generate knowledge and analysis not only for the scholarly community, but also for practitioners and policy makers.